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In contrast, people who do not have children struggle more for the kind of social support offered by having them.

Previous studies have suggested that girls are more likely to help their ailing parents than boys.

The researchers tracked the lifespan of men and women born between 1911 and 1925 and living in Sweden - more than 1.4 million people in total.

"Children can provide support in navigating the healthcare system, how to take medication, providing emotional support", said Karin Modig, a co-author of the research in an interview with The Independent.

Dr Modig said further research was planned to analyse whether characteristics of the children such as their education levels had an effect on their parents' life expectancies. Childlessness also could be a sign of natural selection, indicating that people who don't have kids are subject to biological or social challenges that affect their life expectancy, she suggested. After analyzing the data, the study's authors found 60-year-old men with children had 20.2 years of remaining life expectancy compared to just 18.4 years life expectancy for children-less 60-year-old men.

Good news for parents - and especially moms - from the land of science this week: According to a new study reported in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, mothers can expect to live an average 23.1 years longer after the age of 60, simply for having had kids - which equates to 1.5 years longer than women who did not have kids.

The team concluded: 'Having children is associated with increased longevity, particularly in an absolute sense in old age. And while I may still secretly want to be that insane lady who lives past 110 years old and still calls my kids and asks them if they took their vitamins, I am also pretty hopeful that my children will want to nurture me and make sure that my final sunset years are blissful ones. According to the researchers, men and women with at least one child had lower death risks than those without.

Not unexpectedly, the risk of death rose with increasing age, irrespective of whether the individuals were parents or not. By the age of 90 these differences had risen to 1.47% among men and to 1.10% among women.

Age-specific risks of death were calculated and compared for people who had at least one child and for those who were childless.

Previous research has already looked in to the possible link between parenthood and longevity, but researchers at the Karolinska Intitutet in Stockholm, Sweden wanted to see when this apparent advantage may kick in, and whether or not it could be influenced by the sex of the children.

This may suggest that unmarried people rely on their children more for support, whereas married couples are supported by their partner.